Category:
Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains

Legal Daisy Spacing

I read this book nearly forty years ago, and never forgot it. It's weird and hilarious. I was so glad to see it turn up at the Internet Archive.

It purports to be a manual for terraforming a planet. But it's written by madmen and nature haters. Cacti must be enclosed in steel. Mountains must be leveled. Jungles must be paved over.

Read it here.







Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 12, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Science Fiction, 1980s

Follies of the Madmen #565

Ninety-second commercial appears to think it's an epic movie.

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 23, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Games, Languages, Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Stereotypes and Cliches, Advertising, 1970s

A comparison of teflon and plastic

From the Hagley Archive's collection of DuPont Product information photographs.

Definite industrial chemist as dominatrix vibe.

source (1945)


An explanation:

From a boiling bath of hot sulfuric acid, a laboratory technician lifts two rods of plastic. One has charred and deteriorated. The other-a rod of DuPont's new Teflon tetrafluoroethylene resin-is not affected at all by the highly corrosive hot acid. Teflon resists the most corrosive acids and solvents to a degree unequaled by any other plastic. It is not attacked even by aqua regia which dissolves gold and platinum.

A photo of another chemist doing the same thing, but it doesn't have the same vibe to it:

source (1945)

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 26, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Photography and Photographers, Science, 1940s

George Price and Altruism

During the 1960s, scientist George Price came up with a mathematical formula to explain the evolution of altruism. This equation has been described as "the closest thing biology has to E=mc2."

Legend has it that Price subsequently became obsessed by proving that altruism was a genuine phenomenon, extending beyond family relations. He did this by giving away all his possessions to random, needy people — to the point that he himself became penniless, was evicted from his apartment, and after living in various squats throughout London, eventually committed suicide.

That's the legend, but Laura Farnworth discovered that, while the story is basically true, there's slightly more to it than that. Such as that Price was also suffering from psychotic delusions. Read more at nautil.us.

George Price

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 23, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, 1960s

Nuking the Moon



Project A119, also known as A Study of Lunar Research Flights, was a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force. The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology. If the explosive device detonated on the surface, not in a lunar crater, the flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on Earth with their naked eye, a show of force resulting in a possible boosting of domestic morale in the capabilities of the United States, a boost that was needed after the Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race and was also working on a similar project.

The project was never carried out, being cancelled primarily out of a fear of a negative public reaction, with the potential militarization of space that it would also have signified, and because a Moon landing would undoubtedly be a more popular achievement in the eyes of the American and international public alike. A similar project by the Soviet Union also never came to fruition.



Wikipedia page here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 10, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Antisocial Activities, Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, Explosives, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Government, Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s, North America, Russia

Chilling big toe cures runny nose

As reported by Israeli scientists Dr. Menahem Ram and Aladar Schwartz at a 1971 joint meeting of the Society for Cryobiology and the International Conference of Refrigeration:

Sudden temporary chilling of the big toes almost immediately brings about a lowering of the normal body temperature within the nose because, they said, the big toes and the nose are nervous system "reflectors" of one another in their response to external stress. And this nasal temperature-lowering—along with humidity-lowering—"dries up the nostrils," thereby "curing" the cold, they said.


Newport News Daily Press - Sep 3, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 16, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Medicine, Cures for the common cold, Science, 1970s, Feet

Photographing a mule at the instant its head is blown off by dynamite

Advances in photographic technology that occurred in the 1860s and 70s led to the invention of plates that had exposure times of a fraction of a second. This allowed for "instantaneous photography," as it was called at the time. Moving objects could be frozen in time by the camera.

Researchers immediately used this technology to study bodies in motion. Most famously, Eadweard Muybridge in 1878 took a series of images to study the galloping of a horse. Similarly, neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot used instantaneous photography to study the muscular movements of his human patients.

A more unusual application of the technology took place on June 6, 1881, when Mr. Van Sothen, photographer in charge at the United States School of Submarine Engineers in Willett's Point, New York, took an instantaneous photograph of a mule having its head blown off by dynamite. The mule was apparently old and was going to be put down anyway, so it was decided to "sacrifice the animal upon the altar of science."

The resulting photo


Eugene Griffin, First Lieutenant of Engineers, described the details of the experiment in a letter to Lieut. Col. H.L. Abbot:

On the 6th of June, 1881, an instantaneous view was taken, by your direction, of the execution of a condemned mule belonging to the Engineer Department. A small bag containing 6 ounces of dynamite and a fuse was fastened on the mule's forehead, the wires from the fuse connecting with a magneto-electric machine. The camera was placed at a distance of about 47 feet from the mule and properly focussed; the drop shutter was held up by a string, fastened to another fuse, which was placed in the same circuit with the first, so that both were fired simultaneously and the shutter allowed to drop. The result was a negative showing the mule in an upright position, but with his head blown off. This photograph has excited much interest and comment in the scientific world. A very narrow slit was used in the shutter, and as nearly as can be estimated the time of exposure was about 1/250 of a second. A 10 by 12 gelatino-bromide instantaneous Eastman dry plate was used, with a 4 D Dallmeyer lens, using the full opening.

Several months later Scientific American published an account of the experiment, including several engravings showing before and after scenes:

Scientific American - Sep 24, 1881

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 02, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Photography and Photographers, Science, Experiments, Nineteenth Century

Top 20 Bizarre Experiments

After the publication of Elephants on Acid (around 2007), I decided that it would be a good idea to have a website to help promote the book. Something where I would feature some content from the book, as well as post new stuff related to weird science.

Most of the good domain names (including, at the time, ElephantsOnAcid.com) were already taken. So I ended up creating a site at MadScienceMuseum.com.

I added some content to the site, and then, after a while, I stopped. The site lay dormant, without updates, and largely without visitors.

Fast forward to the present. It recently occurred to me that it was stupid to keep paying to keep MadScienceMuseum.com online when hardly anyone visits it, and all the content on it would be perfectly appropriate for WU, which does have visitors.

So I'm getting rid of the "Mad Science Museum" and migrating all the content over to WU. It'll be a slow process, but if you notice me doing additional posts about weird science stuff, that's the reason.

The first thing I've migrated is my list of the Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 30, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Science, Experiments

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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